Installing IIS

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1

This topic describes 3 methods for installing IIS:

  • Using the Configure Your Server Wizard.

  • Using Add or Remove Programs from Control Panel.

  • Using unattended setup.


You can use the Web Platform Installer (Web PI) to easily install IIS, and applications that run on IIS. The Web PI is a free, lightweight tool that lets you install IIS and related technologies such as ASP.NET, SQL Server Express, Visual Web Developer, other popular Web applications, and more. Because the Web PI installs the latest versions of available Web Platform offerings, with just a few simple clicks you can download and install any new tools or updates. To learn more about the Web PI, see Learn more and install the Web PI.

This topic also lists the directories created on install, describes the IIS initial configuration backup, and briefly describes IIS optional components.


To help minimize the attack surface of the server, IIS 6.0 is not installed on Windows Server 2003 by default. When you first install IIS 6.0, it is locked down — which means that only request handling for static Web pages is enabled, and only the World Wide Web Publishing Service (WWW service) is installed. None of the features that sit on top of IIS are turned on, including ASP, ASP.NET, CGI scripting, FrontPage® 2002 Server Extensions from Microsoft, and WebDAV publishing. If you do not enable these features, IIS returns a 404 error. You can enable these features through the Web Services Extensions node in IIS Manager. For more information about how to troubleshoot 404 errors and other issues, see Troubleshooting in IIS 6.0.

Microsoft strongly recommends installing IIS on an NTFS-formatted drive. NTFS is a more powerful and secure file system than FAT and FAT32. For more information, see Securing Files with NTFS Permissions.


You must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer to perform the following procedure or procedures. As a security best practice, log on to your computer by using an account that is not in the Administrators group, and then use the runas command to run IIS Manager as an administrator. At a command prompt, type runas /user:Administrative_AccountName "mmc systemroot\system32\inetsrv\iis.msc".


To install IIS using the Configure Your Server Wizard

  1. From the Start menu, click Manage Your Server.

  2. Under Managing Your Server Roles, click Add or remove a role.

  3. Read the preliminary steps in the Configure Your Server Wizard and click Next.

  4. Under Server Role, click Application server (IIS, ASP.NET) and then click Next.

    By default, the wizard installs and enables IIS, COM+, and DTC.

  5. If you want to serve either of the optional technologies (FrontPage Server Extensions or ASP.NET), on the Application Server Options page, select the appropriate check boxes, and then click Next.

  6. Read the summary and click Next.

  7. Complete the wizard, and then click Finish.


The Configure Your Server Wizard enables ASP.NET by default, unlike the Add/Remove Windows components install method below.

For more information about the Configure Your Server Wizard, see "Configuring Your Server Wizard" in Windows Help.

To install IIS, add components, or remove components using Control Panel

  1. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.

  3. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.

  4. In the Components list box, click Application Server.

  5. Click Details.

  6. Click Internet Information Services Manager.

  7. Click Details to view the list of IIS optional components. For a detailed description of IIS optional components, see "Optional Components" in this topic.

  8. Select all optional components you wish to install.


    The World Wide Web Publishing Service optional component includes important subcomponents like the Active Server Pages component and Remote Administration (HTML). To view and select these subcomponents, click World Wide Web Publishing Service and then click Details.

  9. Click OK until you are returned to the Windows Component Wizard.

  10. Click Next and complete the Windows Component Wizard.

Unattended Setup

To simplify the process of setting up IIS on multiple computers running a member of the Windows Server 2003 family, you can run setup unattended. To do this, create and use an answer file, which is a customized script that automatically answers the setup questions.

For information about how to create an answer file and to view a table of all IIS unattended setup parameters, see Appendix E: Unattended Setup.

IIS Directories

IIS installs the following directories:

  • \InetPub

  • systemroot\Help\IISHelp

  • systemroot\System32\InetSrv

  • systemroot\System32\InetSrv\MetaBack

These directories contain user content and cannot be moved. You can, however, select the location of your Wwwroot and Ftproot directories at installation by using a script during unattended setup. If you uninstall IIS, the IISHelp directory is removed. The InetPub and InetSrv directories remain on your computer.

IIS Initial Configuration Backup

When you first install IIS, a backup of the initial metabase configuration is automatically created in the systemroot\System32\InetSrv\MetaBack directory. This backup can be used to restore the IIS configuration to its state immediately following IIS installation. This is a useful tool for solving metabase corruption or configuration problems, and can help you recover a known good configuration without needing to reinstall IIS. This backup is not password protected, and can only be used to restore settings on the system on which it was created. See Backing Up and Restoring the Metabase in IIS 6.0 for information about restoring the initial IIS configuration backup.

It is strongly recommended that following IIS installation, and before any configuration changes are made, you create a password-protected backup of the IIS configuration. Unlike the automatic initial configuration backup, a password-protected backup is system independent, and can be used to restore settings on other systems running IIS 6.0. See Backing Up and Restoring the Metabase in IIS 6.0 for information about creating a password-protected backup of the IIS configuration.

Optional Components

IIS includes optional components that you can enable or disable at anytime through the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel, or using unattended setup. Descriptions of these components and the impact to your current IIS settings are described below.

Files for Active Server Pages (ASP), Internet Data Connector, server-side includes, and WebDav are installed, but disabled by default on a clean installation. All IIS functionality is enabled by default on an upgrade. When one of these components is selected or cleared from the Windows Components Wizard or by using an unattended file, the component is enabled or disabled in the WebSvcExtRestrictionList Metabase Property.

BITS Server Extensions

The Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a background file transfer mechanism and queue manager, also known as a drizzle service. BITS throttles file requests to minimize bandwidth consumption and enhance the end-user experience. Enable BITS with IIS to maintain Web server quality of service. From the Windows Components Wizard, click Details to enable the following BITS Server components:

  • BITS Server Extensions ISAPI: Enable this option to drizzle IIS requests with the help of the BITS server.

  • BITS Server Extensions Snap-in: Enabling this option to access and view the BITS graphical user interface (GUI).

Common Files

For the sake of added security in your server environment, you may choose to deselect some of the common files. However, if you deselect the Common Files option, all of the common files are subsequently deselected and IIS will not be installed on your machine. Therefore, if you want to install IIS on your computer, leave this option selected. If you want to limit the services and components installed with IIS, deselect the individual components that are listed below the Common Files component.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Server

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used to copy files to and from remote computer systems on a network that uses Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions

FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions allow you to view and manage a Web site in a graphical user interface using FrontPage as the authoring environment. FrontPage allows you to quickly create Web sites on your server, as well as, create, edit, and post Web pages to IIS remotely. While you are creating your site, FrontPage keeps a connection open to IIS, saving and changing the Web files so you can view your site. If you choose not to install the FrontPage Server Extensions, you will have to manually copy all of your Web content, configure your settings, and in some cases, manually register applications already registered in FrontPage. Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions are not supported for resources in Microsoft Clustering.

Internet Information Services Manager

IIS Manager is a graphical user interface to administer your Web site. In previous releases of IIS, this tool was called the Internet Service Manager. Without IIS Manager, you can still manage your server, but you must use coded scripts that call on the IIS APIs to create sites, applications, virtual directories, and security settings.

NNTP Service

Use Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) to distribute network news messages to NNTP servers and to NNTP clients (news readers) on the Internet. NNTP provides for the distribution, inquiry, retrieval, and posting of news articles by using a reliable stream-based transmission of news on the Internet. NNTP is designed so that news articles are stored on a server in a central database, thus users can select specific items to read. Indexing, cross-referencing, and expiration of aged messages are also provided.

If you have NNTP installed, you can view Microsoft News (NNTP) Service Help by typing file:\\%systemroot%\help\news.chm in your browser address bar and pressing ENTER.

SMTP Service

Use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to set up intranet mail services that work in conjunction with IIS. SMTP is a TCP/IP protocol for sending messages from one computer to another on a network. This protocol is used on the Internet to route e-mail.

If you have SMTP installed, you can view Microsoft Mail (SMTP) Service Help by typing file:\\%systemroot%\help\mail.chm in your browser address bar and pressing ENTER.

World Wide Web Publishing Service

IIS serves pages to the Internet and the World Wide Web. This component must be installed for IIS to perform its primary service. If you do not select this option, you disable IIS.

The World Wide Web Publishing Service (WWW service) includes the following subcomponents:

  • About ASP: Select to enable ASP on your server. If this option is not selected, all .asp requests return a 404 error.

  • Internet Data Connector: Select to enable Internet Data Connector on your server. If this option is not selected, all .idc requests return a 404 error.

  • Administering Servers Remotely in IIS 6.0: Select to enable remote Web administration of your IIS Web server from any Web browser on your intranet. Once you install IIS and view your Web sites through IIS Manager, IIS creates a site called Administration.

  • Remote Desktop Web Connection: Select to enable connectivity to a computer's desktop from a remote location and run applications as if you were sitting at the console.

  • Using Server-Side Include Directives: Select to enable server-side include files on your server. If this option is not selected, all .shtm, .shtml, and .stm requests return a 404 error.

  • Web Authoring with WebDAV: Select to allow Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) on your server. WebDAV is similar to File Transfer Protocol, with the exception being that WebDAV allows any WebDAV client to publish and change content in a WebDAV directory using HTTP.

  • Web Site Administration: Select to install the World Wide Web Publishing Service. If this option is not selected, IIS does not run on your server.

  • For information about unattended setup, see "Planning for Unattended Setup" in Windows Help.